About 50 people were on hand last Thursday to meet, greet and listen to a brief series of comments made by U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield at the Welcome Center in Albany.
Whitfield (R-1st), stopped in Clinton County Thursday morning for a lunch-time visit as he makes a swing through his first congressional district during a break from his duties in Washington.
Hosted for the luncheon gathering by the Albany – Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, Whitfield spent several minutes talking with those gathered for the event before enjoying lunch and then addressing the crowd on a few issues that are facing Clinton County, Kentucky and our nation at this time.
Speaking about several topics that ranged from economic development, Obamacare, coal fired energy and sending missiles to Syria, Whitfield spoke for about 15 minutes before spending even more time talking informally with many who turned out to see him.
On a local subject, the Congressman addressed the efforts that have been ongoing for many years to have the Congressional Medal of Honor awarded (posthumously) to Garlin Murl Conner.
Whitfield told the crowd, which included Conner’s widow, Pauline Conner, that the effort continued to be an ongoing one, but he noted that progress was being made in the effort to have Conner’s World War II heroic actions recognized with the nation’s highest medal.
Whitfield, who has represented the 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1994, said he has always appreciated the reception he receives when visiting Albany and Clinton County.
“The number one problem we face in our nation today is economic development – creating new jobs,” Whitfield said. “Seventy three percent of the jobs created this year, since January, have been part-time jobs.”
He related that largely to policies of the Obama administration, including the upcoming Obama healthcare act that will force many employers to provide health insurance for employees who are full time employed.”
The congressman also spoke about regulations that have been put into place by the EPA during the Obama tenure, that has limited the coal industry emissions to the point that the United States cannot currently build any new coal fired generators because the technology doesn’t exist that would allow construction to meet current standards.
“America is the only country in the world where you cannot build a new coal powered electric generating plant and that’s because the Obama Administration and the greenhouse emissions regulations have set the standards so high that the technology is not even available to build a new coal powered plant in America, Whitfield said.
The congressman pointed out that coal provides about 49 percent of the electricity used in this country, and in Kentucky, it’s about 96 percent.
“If we’re going to compete in the global marketplace, and have low cost, quality products, you have to have reasonable priced electricity and when you cannot build a new coal powered plant in America, it places us at a severe disadvantage,” Whitfield said.
He added it would be impossible to satisfy President Obama’s goal of supplying electricity without the use of any fossil fuels – coal or natural gas .
“You can’t build enough windmills or solar panels to provide the electricity needed for America,” he said.
Whitfield added that coal from the United States was being exported to be burned for energy all over the world, but the current administration continued to fight to keep it from being burned here.
As for the current situation in Syria and its use of chemical weapons and President Obama’s desire to launch a missile strike against Syria, Whitfield said he was against the plan as it was currently being presented.
Having returned from Washington earlier last week and attending a conference on the matter, Whitfield said he had drawn the following conclusions:
“My final conclusion on this is that we want to send a message to Syria and we want to send a missile strike to Syria, we don’t want to topple the Assad government, and we want to strengthen the rebel forces, but we’re not sure exactly who the rebel forces are,” Whitfield said. “So, without a clear, defined purpose, and a goal for doing it, I’m not going to support, and will not vote for authorization for the President to send missiles to Syria – just to be sending missiles into Syria.”
Whitfield also noted that he was strongly against the use of chemical weapons, but felt a strike should be presented with a much clearer defined set of goals and perimeters than the administration was currently presenting.